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Trying to Conceive at Starbucks

You know what sucks when you're trying to get pregnant?

Starbucks.

Allow me to explain.

When my husband and I were struggling to conceive a few years back, I, like many women, turned to a combination of Western and Eastern medicine for help. A little IVF here, a little acupuncture there, a shot of progesterone followed by a shot of wheatgrass juice. It was imperative that I felt like our bases were covered, like I was doing everything humanly possible to make my uterus the most irresistibly comfy, cushiest spot.

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As a writer, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. I've been called a laptop hobo on occasion. My spot of choice is Starbucks because they don't laugh or sneer at me when I order a grande decaf caramel Americano with nonfat, no-foam milk in a venti cup. But in 2010 and 2011, as romantic vacation sex turned to Clomid-and-turkey baster turned to IVF, my favorite fix started causing me trouble.

First up: The cup

Research was coming out around that time suggesting that BPA, found in plastic and some paper, might be linked to infertility. So I started worrying that my cup might be functioning like a grande-sized birth control pill.

I shot up my meds in the bathrooms at Starbucks. I treated myself to scones when I read that gaining some weight might help me conceive.

Next: Dairy

My acupuncturist wanted me off of cow dairy, suggesting it might be linked to increased system-wide mucus that could thwart even the best intentioned of sperm. (Speaking of which, don't even ask me what the fertility chat room folks recommended we try using as lubricant. Hint: It can be found in your fridge and rhymes with 'leg tights.') Since Starbucks wasn't carrying goat milk, I switched to organic cow milk in an attempt to appease the spermicide gods, so I started traveling BYOM-style, carrying a few inches of it in a thermos with me to work.

Third: Caffeine

It's may be a myth that caffeine is linked with miscarriage, but it's a hard-to-kill myth. In my mind, if caffeine could be that bad, I didn't want it in my system. True, I already drank decaf, but what if the barista was bleary-eyed and accidentally gave me high-octane? Yay, more to worry about.

Fourth: Fake sugar

Pre-babymaking, I used to shake a few Splendas into my drink. But part of my fertility overhaul included dropping artificial sugars from my diet (I also used to eat those 80-calorie yogurts that bridesmaids are always cooing over in commercials) so the little yellow packets had to get the cold shoulder.

Fifth: Starbucks is basically a cappuccino-scented daycare facility

Kids are everywhere. They're tearing into breakfast sandwiches, sipping vanilla milk with their nannies, reaching out of strollers toward the cookie packets near the cash register. When you want nothing more than to be pregnant and you're surrounded by crumb-faced moppets with names like Wolfgang and Saoirse, it can turn you bitter real quick.

I shot up my meds in the bathrooms at Starbucks. I treated myself to scones when I read that gaining some weight might help me conceive. I got the news I was pregnant after our second IVF while seated at a communal table (a pregnancy that ultimately didn't last longer than a few days). I could go on and on about the sad shit that went down at Starbucks.

Until one day, it changed.

We did finally get pregnant, and Starbucks quickly returned to being a fun place to hang out and a free place to work. I no longer felt like ordering a Valium Frappucino with a Lexapro drizzle. I returned to using their bathroom as a place to pee and not my private back alley medication-mixing lab. I've held onto many of the changes I made: I only buy organic milk and stick to real sugar, whether it's my daily coffee or my nightly Dark Chocolate Raisinettes.

When I gave birth to our first daughter, I'd walk over to 'Bux with her in the Ergo carrier, dozing peacefully between my boobs, and order my drink of choice, being careful not to drip on her head as I sipped and strolled. Now, if I'm coming back from a 4-hour writing marathon and have a short cup of vanilla soymilk in my hand for her, our oldest acts like she's won the lottery.

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When I'm writing and a mom walks by, 10-month-old balanced on one hip and a macchiato on the other, my boobs let down as I think of our baby at home. Those days of freaking out over BPA in my latte or caf in my decaf are a distant memory. And when I find myself in the drive-through with our girls in the backseat, and our 3-year-old is calling out, "Can I have my own coffee, please?!" I have to give myself a venti-sized pinch.

Image via Twenty20/bl0l0ck

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